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Got a Headache? Know the Causes Behind

By Linda Giles

Headaches can encompass many things because there are different kinds of headaches. For instance, you can have tension/stress related headaches, migraine, cluster and rebound headaches. However, not too many people are aware of this compartmentalization; hence remedies are not as effective.

While medics say that a headache which happens once in a blue moon does not warrant a visit to the doctor, but if they get more frequent, it becomes imperative. Sometimes it can signify some deep underlying disease so a routine check up is necessary if you keep getting headaches.

But you don't have to go for an MRI or CT scan the minute you have headache. Do it only when specified by your doctor. To identify the kind of headache you have, you have to first understand in which area of the head the ache occurs, what is the frequency and what are the pre and post symptoms?

Tension - Stress headaches

High pressure lifestyles with demanding jobs and the desire to achieve all in a short while are the biggest culprits. While most young people who are balancing the demands of career and home have the largest frequency of tension headaches, these days even school students suffer from them prior to their exams.

It's also called Muscular contraction headache where because you are tense and stressed out, your eye and neck muscles are taut and stretched out, causing you pain in the process.

Certain other factors can also precipitate such headaches, such as infrequent sleep pattern and erratic eating habits, coupled with emotional and physical stress. Usually, this happens mostly at the beginning of the day or at the end when muscles go into spasms after over use.


What was thought to be once a specialized condition, is today affecting every one in ten individuals. Migraine is also by and large precipitated by stress.

Though not everyone may have acute migraine, some may have to suffer much more. It's important to know whether you're actually suffering from migraine. Any headache that is accompanied by nausea is not migraine.

Mostly it is an ache on one side of the head. Sometimes it may change sides and there are times when it's accompanied by flashes of light. Also you have vomiting and nausea. There's also throbbing in the skull and the temples. And when it interferes with your day to day affairs, it requires investigation and medication.

Cluster and Rebound

Also called the Histamine headache, cluster headache is accompanied by one attack after another and can last several days, weeks or months and then disappear completely for some time. Though it's not very common and the causes are yet unknown, it occurs more in men than women. There's pain in the eye, redness and laceration in this kind of headache. And while you may think that popping a painkiller is all there is to any headache you may get, that's not always the case.

There's also something called the Rebound Headache which is accelerated by taking painkillers. Don't pop an aspirin, say experts.

Food induced

Sometimes you may get headache for some other reason than the types mentioned. It could be something as simple as going on a drinking binge the nigh before, or eating chocolates or cheese, banana, ice cream or even chewing tobacco and drinking coffee. That's because some foods, like these contain serotonin which triggers headaches.

And if you're susceptible to headaches, avoid these foods. Also if you have high blood pressure, it can cause a throbbing pain in the head sometimes.

And the three things that you must remember when that pain strikes you are: take a safe painkiller, take a break from your work and do some yoga and meditation when you get the chance. It helps.

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